Hyderabad—time for accountability

It’s not about who’s responsible anymore. It’s about who is accountable

There’s been another terrorist attack; coordinated bomb blasts killed around 40 people in Hyderabad. Terrorist struck the weekend crowd at a tourist attraction. And whether coincidence or not, one of the bombs went off when the crowd rose to sing the national anthem.

The Andhra Pradesh state government has called it a terrorist attack. The Central government has already blamed Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami (HuJI) and Jaish-e-Mohammed sleeper cells. It rings so untrue. One the one hand the government can implicate groups within hours of the attacks. On the other they can’t prevent them.

No, the only sleeper cells are those within the government. The Andhra Pradesh government, which both failed to track down the terrorists responsible for the recent Mecca Masjid attacks and to improve its vigilance thereafter. The attack also exposed the sleeper cells in New Delhi all over again. How long will the UPA government—and its murderously inept home minister—be allowed to escape responsibility for doing little to prevent the deadliest terrorist campaign against India ever?

It is time for accountability. We can expect the daily newspapers to again write tough editorials this week, and duly forget about it very soon. But the Indian people will punish those who failed to protect them.

18 thoughts on “Hyderabad—time for accountability”

  1. Bombay had 182 of its people killed in July last year. And yet, today i feel, that i could carry a bomb in my college bag instead of my mechanics book, blow it up in a train efficiently killing lots of people and get away scot free.

    9/11 happened in 2001. Ever heard of another “terrorist” attack on US soil since then?

  2. >> But the Indian people will punish those who failed to protect them. >>

    Therein lies the tragedy of our age.

    The forcible narrowing of interests will prevent the above from happening. We will keep our personal outrage at home, but demand accountability only when our “special benefits” are threatened.

  3. And our Prime Minister would nocturnal mammal like, have spent a sleepless Saturday night, worried about the families of those Pakistanis and Bangladeshis so unjustly accused of perpetrating this attack!

  4. what?? did I hear(see) u say – people will punihs? NO! then TN govt shud be out and the CM, a man very sympathetic to any form of terrorism, not in fray at all..
    for Hyd- its a shame its so easy these days and touristic places being attaked. Its pathetic that innocents will lie dead for some cheap thrill of the terrorists (what else do they gain, anyway?) and can we even talk of govts to act/react? psstt..ote banks gmen!

  5. I think a lot of people are simply missing the point here. I hear so many people on TV – the so-called journalists among them, and comments on blogs refer to the lack of visible security personnel in busy areas as a sign of the lack of security. It’s become hip to say “I can carry a bag of explosives to this and that place. Where’s the security?” I strongly believe that a strong intelligence apparatus is what prevents terrorist activities from happening in the first place. Sophisticated intelligence using undercover men/women on the ground and the best that technology has to offer. Do we Indians even know who these agenices are and what they actually do? Can anyone think of an episode which the IB, RAW solved? Where’s the intelligence sharing between the federal, state and local governments? Security checks are not an effective way to prevent these crimes. They are essential, but the “evil-doers” have too many tricks up their sleeves to be deterred by them. Let’s take the example of New York. After 9/11, the New York Police Department (NYPD) does not rely on the federal government for its intelligence anymore. They have their own intelligence operations in Europe and the Middle East. The city has taken the matter into its own hands. You cannot expect this kind of intelligence gathering from the current government – they are simply imbecile. Their attitude is simple “Who cares about urban India? They don’t vote anyways. We should worry about 70% of India that lives in its villages. Let’s promise them free electricity in the next elections.” If this had happened in the US, Bush would have gone live on all kinds of media -addressed the nation from the oval office and called for “Naani yaad dila denge” and delivered on that promise by bombing Iran the next morning.

  6. Can anyone make any sense of this statement from Mr. Shivraj Patil:

    Federal Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who visited Hyderabad on Sunday, said it was tragic that innocent young people like the students should lose their lives. “Life is like this. We are sorry, but we are not cowed down,” he said at a press briefing…
    He said the government did have information of possible terrorist attacks, but “the country is so large it is not possible to always know where and when (they will strike) … they take advantage of this.” [emphasis mine]

    And, they call this fellow the Home Minister of an aspiring super-power!

  7. Anuraag,

    Sure. It’s not about visible security.

    But blaming the intelligence agencies, CBI or even the police departments is misleading. That’s because they not only operate in a highly politicised setting, but take their briefs from the political leadership.

    Writing in an Indian Express column (linked in the post) Shekhar Gupta wrote that the UPA had specifically held back the investigators from investigating recent cases of terrorism because they felt that this would not play well with the Muslim community.

    The home ministry bureaucrats were apparently very happy when Shivraj Patil was nominated for president. Unfortunately for them and for everyone else, he didn’t make it.

    Between the cynical political calculation and criminal incompetence, it is small wonder that none of the terrorism cases are close to being solved. In this context, blaming IB or CBI is like blaming the mouse for programming errors.

  8. Rational Fool,

    Life is like this! Can’t believe that even he said that.

    None of the Indian papers are carrying this bit. They all start from “We are sorry but we won’t be cowed down”.

  9. Nitin: Every Tom, Dick & Harry knows that government is to be blamed for lack of accountability. We know that the government is highly politicized and as I said before imbecile. But what are our intelligence agencies doing? They have blood on their hands. I simply cannot believe in incompetence. Whatever the problem. Where are the leaders in our intelligence communities? Why can’t they speak their minds? What are they afraid of? Getting fired from the job. I would think not doing your job 100% is the single biggest sin that IB officer is committing. If he or she thinks that the political apparatus is putting roadblocks in its functioning. He/she needs to be bold. Think creatively. Get a workaround. Afterall, all of us have had bad bosses in our jobs. Do we sit and groan all day about them? Or do we find a way to workaround the issue and keep our cliens best interests at heart. India lacks leaders in almost all spheres of our lives. Giving lame excuses of political interferences is no reason for job incompetence. It’s not accepted in the West and should not be accepted by the Indian society.

  10. Rational Fool: Patil is a moron, he represents what has gone wrong with the India’s tryst with destiny. Parliamentary democracies in a pluralistic nation are known the world over not to throw up any leaders. Unless we have strong willed leaders who can work against all the odds – parliamentary democracies don’t work. They give way to vested interests. By their nature these kinds of democracies do not inculcate any sense of leadership. They are like socialism. Presidential form of goverment makes leaders out of nobody. It demands leadership from the top. It demands accountability at every stage of government.

  11. Indian cities are densely populated and it will be difficult and impossible to solve everything with any single measure. What we need is coordination on several fronts: tough anti-terror laws, increased security at public places, ever vigilant and responsible public, mechanism and chain of command to handle perceived threats, on the ground human intelligence including covert operations. We cannot have Israel-like fortified country but we can deter future incidents from happening by improving on each of these fronts simultaneously. The tragedy lies in where do we start: we need political leadership at state and center that is capable of a strong vision and leadership. In this case, we know the people in the old city part of Hyderabad were involved in carrying out these attacks. A strong network of human intelligence in the old city could have averted the attack but then, we were well short of mechanisms to tackle it. Patil’s comments display the bankruptcy of political leadership in fighting terrorism. We need a new Sardar Patel.

  12. Anuraag,

    Where are the leaders in our intelligence communities? Why can’t they speak their minds? What are they afraid of? Getting fired from the job.

    Yes. That’s a crude way of putting it, but it boils down to that. Let’s not have a romantic notion of government officials. They are professionals, like many of us. And like many of us, they’ll do what is necessary to keep their jobs. Unlike many of us, they can’t hop jobs easily.


    What we need is coordination on several fronts: tough anti-terror laws, increased security at public places, ever vigilant and responsible public, mechanism and chain of command to handle perceived threats, on the ground human intelligence including covert operations.

    True. In fact, for all its weaknesses, India does have a machinery. But the machinery has been directed to take it easy.

    I’m glad we’re all thinking of structural solutions to the problem. That’s fine. What is necessary is for the people to compel the political system to put the solutions in place.

    Update Today’s Hindu has a report by Praveen Swami and an editorial on the attack (here). There was intelligence, the law enforcement authorities wanted to pursue the leads, but were stymied by the state government.

  13. We seriously need an alternative to torture to extract information. I suggest that the government of India should offer a $2 billion prize for the first team that can devise an infallable non-invasive lie-detector.

    After that, it won’t be an issue to round up 50 suspects and ask them a few simple questions. Each innocent won’t be held up for more than 15 minutes or so. The entire exercise can be wound up in a few hours.

  14. hey man one question always the ELM puts spin on every blast like last year in mumbai “MOST VICTIMS WERE RICH GUJARTI DIAMOND MERCHANTS ” THEN by same account people did “CRIME” by shopping in pre diwali in delhi also they did “CRIME ” “WORSHIPPING IDOLS” IN VARNASHI IN SANKATMOCKAN TEMPLE ” AND OF COURSE ALL ATTACKS IN MUMBAI TILL 3000 AD ARE REVENGE TO 1992 BLASTS and all attcks in gujarat askardham till 4000 AD are due to modi !!! but BUT BUT.. WHAT DID HYDERABAD PEOPLE DO BY VOTING FOR SAMUEL REDDY AND MIM OSWSIS !! THEY VOTED FOR SECULAR PARTIES STILL THEY GET THIS

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